In honor of Constitution Day 2007, Elizabeth Eckford, a heroine of the Civil Rights Movement, will be honored at the National Constitution Center on September 17th for her courageous bid for an equal education. The Constitution Center, Scholastic Inc. and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers announced today that Eckford’s name will join those of 100 other history-making Americans featured on the American National Tree exhibit at the Center. The exhibit features stories of Americans whose actions have helped to write the constitutional story.
“I am honored to be a part of one of the most popular exhibits at the National Constitution Center, the American National Tree, because I am joining other Americans who, through everyday acts of courage, have made a difference in the lives of so many. It is my sincerest hope that visitors to the Center will be inspired by my story and the enduring legacy of the Little Rock Nine, to be active participants in opening doors of opportunity to all people," said Elizabeth Eckford.
Joining Eckford will be 17-year-old Kathryn Llewellyn, the recipient of the M.R. Robinson/National Constitution Center Civic Writing Award. As the winner, Llewellyn was asked to write Eckford’s story to be the newest addition to the American National Tree exhibit. Llewellyn is a two-time recipient of a Scholastic Art & Writing Award. The prestigious, 85-year-old awards are overseen by the Alliance, a national nonprofit organization. M.R. Robinson was the founder of Scholastic, as well as The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
An induction ceremony will be held in the Center’s main exhibition, The Story of We, the People at 1:30 p.m. honoring Eckford for her historic contribution to the preservation of democracy, equality and the values of the U.S. Constitution. On Sept. 24, 1957, Eckford and eight other African American students integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, after mobs and the National Guard thwarted two previous attempts. Only after President Dwight Eisenhower ordered the Arkansas governor to let them pass were Eckford and the other students allowed to enter the school.
“The American National Tree is an icon that shows how the story of the Constitution has been written by the actions of ordinary citizens," said Joseph M. Torsella, President and CEO of the Center. “Elizabeth Eckford is a true heroine of the Civil Rights Movement, and her quiet tenacity moved our nation a step closer to achieving its ideals. We are honored to be adding Elizabeth Eckford's story to the Tree -- it is especially fitting to do so in the year that marks the 50th anniversary of the “Little Rock Nine.”
“Scholastic is thrilled to celebrate Elizabeth Eckford on this Constitution Day,” said Karen Proctor, Vice President of Community Affairs. “Scholastic has forever devoted itself to upholding the values of democracy, liberty and equal rights – values that Ms. Eckford believes in deeply, and that all students – like Kathryn Llewellyn – should hold dear.”
Immediately following the ceremony at the Tree, Elizabeth Eckford and Kathryn Llewellyn will participate in a discussion about the Little Rock Nine and the role these young people played in the Civil Rights Movement. The 45-minute discussion will be led by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Acel Moore, and will be broadcast live into various schools across the country via Internet2.
The National Constitution Center will serve as the hub for a wide variety of programs and activities in celebration of Constitution Day 2007, including free admission for all visitors on Monday, September 17th. All events will take place at the National Constitution Center in partnership with USA TODAY. Programming surrounding the 220th birthday of the Constitution has been made possible with generous funding from the Annenberg Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts.
About the National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center, located at 525 Arch St. on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the ideas and values it represents. The Center serves as a museum, an education center, and a forum for debate on constitutional issues. The museum dramatically tells the story of the Constitution from Revolutionary times to the present through more than 100 interactive, multimedia exhibits, film, photographs, text, sculpture and artifacts, and features a powerful, award-winning theatrical performance, “Freedom Rising”. The Center also houses the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach, which serves as the hub for national constitutional education. Also, as a nonpartisan forum for constitutional discourse, the Center presents – without endorsement – programs that contain diverse viewpoints on a broad range of issues. For more information, call 215.409.6700 or visit www.constitutioncenter.org
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in educational technology. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, and school-based and direct-to-home continuity programs; retail stores, schools, libraries and television networks; and the Company's Internet site, www.scholastic.com
About The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and the Alliance
The Awards program continues to provide a platform for creative expression for millions of students across the country. The Alliance brings outstanding visual art and writing created by teenagers to a national audience and encourages their creative journey and career development. In addition to awarding annual scholarships to top portfolio award recipients, the Alliance collaborates with colleges across the country that make an additional $1.5 million in financial aid available to award recipients with exceptional promise.
The Awards program and the work of the Alliance are made possible through the support of Scholastic Inc., the Title Sponsor. Presenting Sponsors include The New York Times Company, Accenture, Command Web Offset, CDW-G and Hewlett Packard. Generous leadership support is also provided by The Maurice R. Robinson Fund, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust.
For more information, visit www.artandwriting.org